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Old 08-21-2017, 03:40 PM   #1
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I bought a bus online, what could go wrong?

Hi Everyone,

I am prone to making impulsive decisions, and generally have a good story to tell as a result, but I may have stepped into the deep end with this one.

I just bought a converted 1979 MCI 9 from a nice lady on Craigslist, sight unseen. On Labor Day weekend, I will be flying to Florida to drive it back to CA.

What could go wrong?

Good news is, the deal was not a scam. I sent the money and there was indeed a bus to pick up when I sent the other guy I found online to go pick it up. It is amazing what you can do online now'a'days

I have the bus in the shop to get it roadworthy, it looks like I will buy buying a set of tires, getting the front airbags replaced and getting a couple of electrical issues fixed. There are some additional mechanical issues that I will defer until I can get back to CA.

One thing I did not consider in making this hare brained purchase, is:

Am I going to be able to get this thing into California when I arrive at the state line?

As I understand it:

- I do not need a commercial license if I operate the bus as a personal RV
- I do not need to stop and weigh stations as I traverse the state on I-10

Are any of these false?

Anything I need to look into before I set out on this adventure?
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Old 08-21-2017, 03:47 PM   #2
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What tags are you going to use to get home with. Fortunately in FL we could get a 30 day tag to get our RV home. In NC they don't have temp tags. When I was moving to OH I had someone in OH get me temp tags to get to OH with so I didn't have to pay property tax on my car in UT that had been in storage.
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Old 08-21-2017, 03:51 PM   #3
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When we went into California in a class A from Connecticut we had to have an agricultural inspection for bugs. They get under the thing with a guy on a dolly. I was told Gypsy Moths is what they were looking for.
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Old 08-21-2017, 03:54 PM   #4
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Getting it smogged and registered in Ca should be fun. Lots of luck to you
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Old 08-21-2017, 04:24 PM   #5
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I bought a bus online, what could go wrong?

Thanks for the reply. The bus has current Florida tags, so my plan was to carry the bill of sale and title with and make the trip with the existing tags.

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What tags are you going to use to get home with. Fortunately in FL we could get a 30 day tag to get our RV home. In NC they don't have temp tags. When I was moving to OH I had someone in OH get me temp tags to get to OH with so I didn't have to pay property tax on my car in UT that had been in storage.
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Old 08-21-2017, 04:32 PM   #6
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I bought a bus online, what could go wrong?

A two-stroke diesel in CA? There is a DMV/CARB/BAR joke to be made here. I may just stop in Texas and call it home.

Seriously, I understand that I have to schedule a VIN verification and then there is a California Air Resources Board (CARB) exemption for diesel RV's, but I have not been able to verify that.

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Getting it smogged and registered in Ca should be fun. Lots of luck to you
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Old 08-21-2017, 05:21 PM   #7
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You could get a Montana LLC registration. It will save us 15k in taxes the first year on our next coach and and the 5k per year for property taxes each year after that...
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Old 08-21-2017, 05:32 PM   #8
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You could get a Montana LLC registration. It will save us 15k in taxes the first year on our next coach and and the 5k per year for property taxes each year after that...
And probably highly illegal if rhe OP is a CA resident.
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Old 08-21-2017, 11:20 PM   #9
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Thanks for the reply. The bus has current Florida tags, so my plan was to carry the bill of sale and title with and make the trip with the existing tags.
Make sure you get Good Sam towing coverage or comparable. We broke down about 200 miles after leaving the lot and two mechanic inspections on the engine. Granted I fixed the problem and didn't need a tow. It was a wakeup call.

My cousin tried something like that with plates and registration...was in the south somewhere and ended up in jail after getting pulled over. Ended up being quite the fireside story among family. Apparently there is something comical to having your shoelaces removed during your stay.

If the owner agrees and doesn't understand their liability at least send the plates back to them when you are finished so they can turn them into the state. I would try to get temp tags but thats just me.
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Old 08-21-2017, 11:32 PM   #10
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I don't envy you having to deal with Kalifornia DMV. Just a note: If the first DMV agent says "NO-GO", try another location.
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Old 08-21-2017, 11:41 PM   #11
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From California here, who has purchased a diesel Motorhome out of state. A special license to drive a Motorhome is not required if it's 40 feet in length or less. Over 40 ft special license requiring a driving test is required. Diesel Motorhome are exempt from smog at this time. You mentioned a 2 stroke diesel, I can not advise if that makes a difference or not. Along with all paperwork, you need a VIN verification. This can be done at DMV, but as parking is usually bad at most DMV's I recommend calling your local DMV Office for this DMV from. Take you check book to DMV, as they will want to collect 'use Tax' and reg.

Hope this answers your questions.
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Old 08-22-2017, 02:21 AM   #12
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I am in CA. Bought a DP in from out of state. Used a independant title/registration service who handled everything. Well with their nominal fee.
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Old 08-22-2017, 09:03 AM   #13
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I don't envy you having to deal with Kalifornia DMV. Just a note: If the first DMV agent says "NO-GO", try another location.
That is great advise and works anywhere. In NC there is one office that I will drive miles to just because there is one woman there that will "get er dun". If she ever quits I don't know what I will do.
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Old 08-22-2017, 02:27 PM   #14
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I was just starting to look into the towing insurance. Thank you for the Good Sam tip.

In CA, the plates stay with the vehicle on transfer. It does not sound like that is the case in FL.

Getting ones shoelaces taken away sounds like a sever punishment for driving without a proper reg.

I do not have title in hand, so I may need to have that FedExed to me so I can go do my time in line at the DMV. On second thought, I may risk the shoelaces...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Forkyfork View Post
Make sure you get Good Sam towing coverage or comparable. We broke down about 200 miles after leaving the lot and two mechanic inspections on the engine. Granted I fixed the problem and didn't need a tow. It was a wakeup call.

My cousin tried something like that with plates and registration...was in the south somewhere and ended up in jail after getting pulled over. Ended up being quite the fireside story among family. Apparently there is something comical to having your shoelaces removed during your stay.

If the owner agrees and doesn't understand their liability at least send the plates back to them when you are finished so they can turn them into the state. I would try to get temp tags but thats just me.
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